This month we made 118 awards to social entrepreneurs from across the United Kingdom, each person finding unique entrepreneurial solutions to some of society’s biggest problems.
Social entrepreneurs from this spring’s cohort include:
Liza Kellett, from Leeds, who is developing a micro-finance social enterprise which helps people to lift themselves out of financial exclusion and poverty by providing small ethical business loans. It is specifically aimed at enterprising people who’ve been turned down by other loan providers. The venture will also nurture self-reliant groups which build skills, savings and enterprise-thinking in peer support groups in deprived communities across Leeds.
Jane Kippax, from Somerset, who has founded Step and Stone a Bristol-based artisanal bakery. The venture has a team of five regular volunteers and 12 young people with learning disabilities who hand-craft unique savoury crackers ('lavosh flatbreads'). Sales of the product began four-months-ago, and the enterprise is already selling its product in 14 retail outlets in Bristol.
Joanna Iceton, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, who is developing her venture that teaches local people cooking skills. It will help people eat more healthily on a low-budget, and bring families and communities together.
Sabeha Miah, from East London, the founder of Juta Shoes. The social venture mainly employs women of Bangladeshi origin and together they make handcrafted sustainable leather espadrilles. Many employees are carers or mothers, and some have had experience of domestic abuse or violence and suffer low self-esteem. The venture offers the London Living Wage, expert training in the craft of shoemaking, and builds confidence. Juta Shoes is a sustainable business in every sense, using industrial leather waste to save it from landfill.
Abokor Ahmed, from Sheffield, south Yorkshire, who is building an innovative community-led co-working space for young people in Sheffield city centre. It designed to give people a space to bring their ideas to life, offering networking, peer support and will tackle some of the city’s biggest social and environmental issues.
Jane Kippax, founder of Step and Stone, said: “We seek to improve the employment prospects for young people with learning disabilities and at the same time showcase just what our young people can do in the workplace – if they’re given the right support and training. The support from UnLtd is enormously important to us, allowing us to expand our operation and fulfil our ultimate aim; to help even more young people into mainstream employment.”
Sabeha Miah, founder of Juta Shoes, said: “We want to get more people from our community into employment. The work we offer gives people structure, builds community and helps us to create beautiful products that people want to buy. We’re so excited about receiveing support from UnLtd. We want to collaborate and work with new people to help grow Juta Shoes to deliver a bigger social impact. Everyone deserves the chance to find meaningful employment – it unlocks the potential in people.”
Increasingly, we are looking to support our award winners in different ways. Through mentorship, peer-to-peer, and through building new ways of working together.
Nas Morley, UnLtd Director of Partnerships & Influence, underlined the importance of the expertise and support on offer and said: “It’s wonderful to welcome this latest UnLtd cohort social entrepreneurs, always such an exciting time at our organisation. These social ventures are evidence that enterprising people are at the heart of so much positive change in all corners of the UK. We hope UnLtd’s tailored package of support will help to develop many sustainable businesses that will deliver lasting social impact. We’re living in particularly challenging times, so some of these ideas and innovations are urgently needed.”
I trained as a journalist, and spent the first part of my career working for local newspapers in the north of England. I moved to London in 2007 to start working in culture communications. This role led to diverse project for the British Council, and developing creative social impact campaigns for mainstream consumer brands. I joined UnLtd in the summer of 2016. I’m a real ideas person; and love exploring new ways of working at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and social change.
We host a series of events throughout the UK each year. From classes and conferences, seminars and workshops to networking events and training sessions.
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